Show business survivor Cybill Shepherd is re-inventing herself again. “I’m thrilled to be the character actor,”
declares the one-time screen siren and TV glamour girl. “I think you can get stuck in perceptions of how people think you should look. It’s much better to take the bigger challenge.”
She looks like a different person – with straight, pulled back dark hair – through part of the Aug. 1-debuting “Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith,” in which she plays a middle-aged homemaker who returns to college after getting dumped by her husband for a younger woman.
“A stay at home wife and mother — that certainly isn’t me,” she observes. “This is a woman who has sacrificed a lot for her husband, giving up her own aspirations to put him through school. She’s spent years doing for him and her children. There’s a lot to admire. You think that being able to be a stay at home mom is an incredible luxury, but there’s a lot of sacrifice.”
She also plays basketball – Cybill actually used to play in high school – and must contend with a rebellious coed roommate (Corri English) in the Hallmark telepic that also stars Jeffrey Nordling.
Now Cybill is waiting to find out whether she’ll be returning to the TV series world again – with the Kelsey Grammer-directed and produced “Alligator Point.” “We should know in a couple of weeks” whether Lifetime gives a green light for the comedy, in which she plays the proprietress of a Florida oyster bar called Mae’s. Says the “Moonlighting,” “Cybill” and “The L Word” veteran, “The script is funny and it’s an ensemble cast, which is a plus.”
This week, she’s starting work on the big screen indie, “A Christmas Movie,” in which, she reports with a smile, “Cloris Leachman and I get a chance to work together. She hates my guts and tries to shoot me with a shotgun.” Cybill’s playing the snooty mother of a 16-year-old pregnant girl, trying to pressure her daughter into having an abortion. She runs away and is taken under wing by Cloris.
LOVE AND TELEVISION: Bret Michaels recently got smacked in the face by an enormous set piece during a Tony Awards mishap, which left him with a fractured nose, and one of his former “Rock of Love” contestants says he might have had it coming. “I felt horrible for him,” says blonde bombshell Megan Hauserman. “I felt like that was really bad karma.” Despite the little dig, Hauserman tells us she remains friends with the rocker-turned-reality-star. “I really was heartbroken over him for a long time. I went on there and I did fall in love with him, but we remain friends.”
Now Hauserman is back on VH1 with her own show where she puts 17 male moguls to the test as they compete for her attention on “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” premiering Aug. 2. “It was something that I happened to say on ‘Charm School’ – that I wanted to be a trophy wife. The next thing I knew, there were hundreds and thousands of men applying for the job. You have to be careful what you wish for, but it could be a lot worse,” notes Hauserman, who claims fans will get to see her real self. “It’s easier when you’re not having to fit in with a bunch of girls like on ‘Rock of Love‘ or having to compete against people in ‘I Love Money.’ You get to see my much happier side.”
However, don’t expect Hauserman to use her new TV fame to help her break into the acting world. She says she’s done with working once she finds her millionaire. “The whole reason I’m doing this show is that I really do want to become a trophy wife. That is my ultimate goal. Once that happens, I’ll probably play tennis, drink wine, sit in hot tubs, and travel – with my husband, of course.” Ah, yes, let’s not forget him!
THE INDUSTRY EYE: Look for “Sex and the City 2” to have a lot of foreign flavor, as the follow-up film to last year’s big screen hit moves toward production with lots of international characters being cast. Those include an upbeat young Irish nanny named Erin “with amazing breasts” (per casting notices), several Middle Eastern characters including a celebrity and glamour lovin’ wealthy sheik, and a “very sexy” forty something Danish architect.
And speaking of Great Danes, expect the announcement soon that a noteworthy star, in all likelihood one with a big voice, has sealed a deal to play everyone’s favorite gigantic comic strip dog, Marmaduke, in the feature film being spun off the newspaper favorite.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster